Washington doubles down on Iranian drone delivery claim
Iran has delivered two types of combat drones to Russia this month, the White House said on Tuesday. Moscow had previously dismissed such reports.
“What we’re assessing is that Russia has received both Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series UAVs from Iran over the course of several days in August,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
“Russian aircraft loaded the UAV equipment at an airfield in Iran and subsequently flew from Iran to Russia,” Jean-Pierre added.
The statement came after the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed US officials and intelligence, that the first drone shipment from Iran to Russia was carried out earlier this month. The Kremlin insisted that the report was false.
It was not the first time US officials warned that Moscow might receive battle UAVs from Tehran to boost its forces amid the military operation in Ukraine.
In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed that Washington has evidence that Iran was preparing to deliver “several hundred” drones to Russia.
However, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby clarified later that month that the authorities had “seen no indications” of the delivery or purchase of Iranian UAVs by Russia.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry accused Sullivan of “distorting the truth.”
Both Mohajer-6 and Shahed drones can be used for surveillance and carrying out airstrikes.